Implications of restricted access to grazing by cattle in wet season in the Sahel
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Ayantunde, A.A.; Fernandez-Rivera, S.; Hiernaux, P.H.; Tabo, R. 2008. Implications of restricted access to grazing by cattle in wet season in the Sahel. Journal of Arid Environments. 72: 523-533
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/1302
To address the problem of restricted access to grazing by cattle in wet season in the Sahel, a grazing trial was conducted to study the effect of duration of grazing and grazing method on cattle nutrition and performance. Twenty-four intact steers weighing 259 kg (SD=62) were randomly allotted to four treatments to study the effect of the combination of grazing method (tethering and close herding) and grazing duration (6 and 9 h per day) on diet selection, faecal output, forage intake, grazing behaviour and weight changes in the wet season. Three esophageally fistulated steers were used in a cross-over design to sample diet selected by tethered and herded animals. Extrusa samples from esophageally fistulated steers and faecal output from intact steers were collected in weeks 6 and 9 of the experiment and grazing behaviour of the intact steers was observed in week 6. Tethered animals selected diets of lower organic matter digestibility (OMD) but tethering had no significant effect on crude protein. Close herded steers consistently consumed more forage than those tethered in both periods. Both grazing method and duration had significant effect on ingestion rate by the steers. Tethered steers had lower average daily gain than those herded. The results demonstrate that the common practice of tethering sedentary cattle in the wet season in the southern Sahel in West Africa reduces forage intake and consequently average daily gain.
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